June 14, 2010

This verse elicited a full spectrum of responses: sheer annoyance at the language, confusion in trying to unpack the meaning, uplift in the presence of the sublime …  On one level, it’s strangely cryptic; on another,  all too obvious. It seems to have a different character from previous verses. I wondered if Mitchell struggled with his translation. Even the commentary he offers seems to throw up its hands in the presence of this verse.  Which suggests we might be right inside the Mystery here —  or perhaps not.  Living with these verses over the last 21 weeks, I find the teachings — I almost want to call them suggestions — finding their place inside me in a very gentle way. Very satisfying. Not too demanding. And yet filled with such bounty and grace. Enjoy.  [Or not…]
Stop thinking, and end your problems.
What difference between yes and no?
What difference between success and failure?
Must you value what others value,
avoid what others avoid?
How ridiculous!
Other people are excited,
as though they were at a parade.
I alone don’t care.
I alone am expressionless,
like an infant before it can smile.
Other people have what they need;
I alone possess nothing.
I alone drift about,
like someone without a home.
I am an idiot, my mind is so empty.
Other people are bright;
I alone am dark.
Other people are sharp;
I alone am dull.
Other people have a purpose;
I alone don’t know.
I drift like a wave on the ocean,
I blow as aimless at the wind.
I am different from ordinary people.
I drink from the Great Mother’s breasts.

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